WomenSport International Newsletter

Global Voice of Research-Based Advocacy for Women's Sport

Message from the President: October 2021

It’s been an interesting two months since our last WomenSport International newsletter. The silent brand of sport – abuse and corruption – is being exposed again. It’s discouraging, but also positive for athletes that their voices are being heard as they stand up for their rights.

We see the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) dealing with reports of abuse and harassment and taking these issues seriously. A FIFA investigation is underway investigates and new interim CEO Maria Messing said: “[I] fully embrace the abundantly clear need to transform the league so that player welfare is central to every discussion and decision.” Hopefully she will contribute to changing the sport environment for women rather than emulating past NWSL leadership by slipping incidents aside.

Meanwhile, conditions in Afghanistan are appalling. For most of us in the international community, it’s hard to imagine the loss of human rights that the women of Afghanistan have worked so hard to gain.

How can we help convince the Taliban about the importance of a woman’s right to good health, physical activity, education, and full participation in society? We can certainly support governments and international organizations with the power to be heard. WSI, the International Working Group (IWG) for Women in Sport and the International Association of Physical Education and Sport for Girls and Women (IAPESGW) will collectively discuss the role we can play. Please share your ideas.

WSI held its first meeting of our new Task Force, entitled “Sport in a Post-Binary World” and chaired by Carole Oglesby and Payoshni Mitra. It’s critical to review the challenges that affect fair practices, ensuring they are inclusive and founded on solid science before the sport sector defines its rules and regulations. We thank the new team for its work on understanding these issues.

Looking forward, you can participate in the Barça Innovation Hub’s Sports Tomorrow Congress (Nov. 8-12) with a reduced rate exclusively for WSI members. See our website for more details.

And please continue to take advantage of our monthly webinars, suggesting topics and presenters that will stimulate lively discussions about women in sport. To contribute an article to the newsletter, contact editor-in-chief Lucas Aykroyd (lucasaykroyd@yahoo.com).

Diane Huffman

President, WomenSport International

WSI News

In August, WSI hosted a webinar entitled “Gender Equality in Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.” Guest speaker Naoko Imoto, an advisor to the Gender Equality Promotion Team of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Organizing Committee, shared successful strategies that were used to promote gender equality during the Games.

In September, three WSI board members, Dr. Toni Bruce, Dr. Becky Clark, and Dr. Dunja Antunovic, shared updates about media coverage of female athletes with disabilities at the Tokyo Paralympics, as well as other elite events like the Deaflympics and Special Olympics. Here is a video of the webinar.

Our October 25 webinar speaker is Ms. Wafeekah Begg-Jassiem, the Legal Manager for South Africa Institute for Drug-Free Sport. Her topic is “Doping in Sport and the Consequences.”

Additionally, two WSI Board members recently received awards for their contributions to the advancement of sport.

Congratulations to Carole Oglesby for earning the 2021 Distinguished Professional Practice Award from the Association of Applied Sport Psychology. And congratulations to Kari Fasting, who received the IAPESGW’s Dorothy Ainsworth Award for outstanding research on women and sport.

We continue welcoming new members to our community! Join WSI through our web site. Benefits include:

  • Access to an international network of experts for sharing research, information, best practices, and actions taken

  • Communication about research-based strategies to enhance gender equity practices in sport

  • Support to enhance opportunities and effect change for women and girls in sport

  • Invitations to WSI functions at international conferences

Kanae Haneishi

Secretary General, WomenSport International

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Tennis Update: Orsi Golovics, Providence College Women’s Tennis

Orsi Golovics is the new head coach of the women’s tennis team at Providence College in Rhode Island. Golovics comes to Providence after two stints as an assistant coach at Northern Arizona University. Golovics has also served as an assistant coach at Cardinal Stritch University, where she helped lead the team to a national championship appearance. Golovics was a standout player at Northern Arizona University, where she earned a Top-20 national doubles ranking in doubles and a Top-40 national singles ranking. She shared her thoughts on the upcoming spring season, her goals as a coach, and the future of women’s college tennis.

How does it feel to be the head coach of a Division I college tennis program?

It’s exciting but also frightening. I was hired a month into the preseason, so everything happened very quickly. I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. I signed my paperwork on Thursday at 8:30 am and had to take the team to West Point for a regional tournament at noon. The following week, I went into my office for the first time. I sat down and took it all in. The assistant coach came in with a question, and it hit me that I am responsible for all these decisions. For these girls, for their experiences, for how they will remember college tennis for the rest of their lives. I want to make sure that I am a good role model and provide the best environment for them to grow as athletes and as women. This feels like a lot of pressure, but I welcome the challenge.

After your career, was it always your goal to coach college tennis?

It was an evolution. I always had college coaching on my radar, but I studied marketing and business administration, so I looked for other job openings as well. I tried to break away from tennis, but somehow, I would always find my way back to the court. Since age 10, tennis has been part of me, so it is hard to imagine my life without the sport.

What did you learn from your own tennis career that you would like to share with your players?

A good tennis player has a short-term memory. As a college player, I learned to forget about the previous point so I could prepare for the next one. Once I learned how to close out the outside world and focus on the next point, my tennis significantly improved. When players come to our program, they already know how to hit a forehand. Their biggest challenge is finding a way to reach their potential, which comes down to mental strength and focus.

What are you most excited about for this upcoming spring season?

I am very excited to bond with the girls on a deeper level and develop relationships based on trust. I can’t wait to see the girls become fantastic athletes and competitors. I want to see the fire in their eyes when they play. I want them to leave everything on the court for themselves and for the team.

What are your personal goals for this spring season?

My goal is to have a breakthrough with the girls regarding mental strength. I will do anything in my power to give them the resources they need to succeed. We compete as a non-scholarship school in an incredibly tough conference, but I can’t wait for that moment when they start believing that they belong.

How do you see the future of women’s college tennis?

Unfortunately, tennis is a very vulnerable college sport. In other words, college tennis is not a priority. Tennis doesn’t bring in big money or big crowds, so the sport is often put on a back burner. If budgets are tight, tennis is among the first sports to be cut. I will do my best to build a team where the girls keep their heads high and walk on the court with pride. They work as hard as the other athletes on campus and deserve to succeed.

Story by WSI Newsletter assistant editor Peri Sheinin

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Professional Opportunities

Voice in Sport: Facebook Social Media Manager

The Telegraph: Deputy Women's Sport Editor

Just Women’s Sports: Brand Marketing Senior Manager

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